On Thursday 5 April 2018 Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna (Italian Navy) assumed the role of Force Commander of the European Union’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta on board his flagship, ITN Carlo Margottini, during a ceremony held in Djibouti port.
Djibouti is a key partner to the EU, with the busy port providing valuable logistical support to Operation Atalanta maritime patrol aircraft and warships. Translators from the Djiboutian Navy also regularly embark Operation Atalanta warships during their counter-piracy patrols to assist the sailors during their meetings with Somali and other regional forces.
The ceremony was attended by Operation Atalanta’s Deputy Operation Commander (DCOM), Rear Admiral Alfonso Nanclares saying: “I praise the hard work of the crew of the Margottini in preparation for this deployment” adding: “I send my best wishes to Admiral Malvagna and the ship’s company for this tour of duty.”
With his embarked Force HQ, Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna will have tactical command of Operation Atalanta warships and maritime patrol aircraft as they conduct their counter-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean over the next four months.
During the ceremony, Rear Admiral Malvagna said: “We have embarked onto the Flagship Margottini to continue this vital operation, let us remember that our main mission is to deter, prevent and repress piracy and also to protect World Food Programme shipping” he added: “we share this determination with our partners in the Combined Maritime Forces and look forward to close cooperation, coordination and interoperability.”
Operation Atalanta was launched in December 2008 and is part of the European Union’s efforts to ensure Somali-based piracy remains suppressed to enable World Food Programme vessels that carry humanitarian aid to Somali ports and merchant ships that transport goods to and from Europe, stay safe from pirate attack.
Other key roles for Operation Atalanta warships are to monitor fishing activities off the Somali coast and to support EU sister missions that are working to strengthen maritime security and capacities of regional states in the Horn of Africa.
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